The Island

The Island

by Elin Hilderbrand

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The Island by Elin Hilderbrand

A summertime story only Elin Hilderbrand can tell: a family in upheaval after a cancelled wedding fill an island summer with heartache, laughter, and surprises.

Birdie Cousins has thrown herself into the details of her daughter Chess's lavish wedding, from the floating dance floor in her Connecticut back yard to the color of the cocktail napkins. Like any mother of a bride-to-be, she is weathering the storms of excitement and chaos, tears and joy. But Birdie, a woman who prides herself on preparing for every possibility, could never have predicted the late-night phone call from Chess, abruptly announcing that she's cancelled her engagement.

It's only the first hint of what will be a summer of upheavals and revelations. Before the dust has even begun to settle, far worse news arrives, sending Chess into a tailspin of despair. Reluctantly taking a break from the first new romance she's embarked on since the recent end of her 30-year marriage, Birdie circles the wagons and enlists the help of her younger daughter Tate and her own sister India. Soon all four are headed for beautiful, rustic Tuckernuck Island, off the coast of Nantucket, where their family has summered for generations. No phones, no television, no grocery store - a place without distractions where they can escape their troubles.

But throw sisters, daughters, ex-lovers, and long-kept secrets onto a remote island, and what might sound like a peaceful getaway becomes much more. Before summer has ended, dramatic truths are uncovered, old loves are rekindled, and new loves make themselves known.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316087926
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 07/06/2010
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 5,987
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Elin Hilderbrand lives on Nantucket with her husband and their three young children. She grew up in Collegeville, PA, and traveled extensively before settling on Nantucket, which has been the setting for her eight previous novels. Hilderbrand is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the graduate fiction workshop at the University of Iowa.

Read an Excerpt

The Island

A Novel
By Hilderbrand, Elin

Reagan Arthur Books

Copyright © 2010 Hilderbrand, Elin
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780316043878


It had sat abandoned for thirteen years. This had happened without warning.

It was a summer house, a cottage, though it had been built well, with high-quality lumber and square-headed steel nails. This was back in 1935, during the Depression. The carpenters had been eager for work; they were careful when aligning the shingles, they sanded, swept, then sanded again with high-grit paper. The banister was as smooth as a satin dress. The carpenters—brought in from Fall River—stood at the upstairs windows and whistled at the views: one bedroom looked out over the mighty ocean, and one bedroom looked out over the bucolic pastures and wide ponds of this, Tuckernuck Island.

The house was occupied only in July and sometimes August. In the other months, there was a caretaker—poking his head in, checking that the windows were tight, removing the small brown carcasses from the mousetraps.

The house had been witness to a wide range of behavior from the members of the family that owned it. They ate and they slept like everyone else; they drank and they danced to music picked up off the shortwave radio. They made love and they fought (yes, the Tates were screamers, one and all; it must have been genetic). They got pregnant and they gave birth; there were children in the house, crying and laughing, drawing on the plaster with crayons, chipping a shingle with a well-hit croquet ball, extinguishing a sneaked cigarette on the railing of the deck.

The house had never caught fire, thank God.

And then, for thirteen years, nobody came. But that wasn’t entirely true. There were field mice and an army of daddy longlegs. There were three bats that flew in through the open attic window, which the family had forgotten to close when they left and which the caretaker had overlooked. The window faced southwest so it deflected the worst of the wind and the rain; it served as an aperture that allowed the house to breathe.

A quartet of mischievous kids broke in through the weak door on the screened-in porch, and for a moment, the house felt optimistic. Humans! Youngsters! But these were trespassers. Though not, thankfully, vandals. They hunted around—finding no food except one can of pork and beans and a cylindrical carton of Quaker oats, rife with weevils (which frightened the girl holding the carton so badly that she dropped it and the oats scattered across the linoleum floor). The kids prodded one another to venture upstairs. Around the island, word was the house was haunted.

Nobody here but me, the house would have said if the house could talk. Well, me and the bats. And the mice. And the spiders!

In one of the bedrooms, the kids found a foot-high sculpture of a man, made from driftwood and shells and beach glass. The man had seaweed hair.

Cool! one of the kids, a boy with red hair and freckles, said. I’m taking this!

That’s stealing, the girl who had dropped the oatmeal said.

The boy set the sculpture down. It’s stupid anyway. Let’s get out of here.

The others agreed. They left, finding nothing more of interest. The toilet didn’t even have water in it.

Again, silence. Emptiness.

Until one day the caretaker used his old key and the front door swung open, groaning on its hinges. It wasn’t the caretaker, but the caretaker’s son, grown up now. He inhaled—the house knew it couldn’t smell terribly good—and patted the door frame with affection.

“They’re coming back,” he said. “They’re coming back.”


Excerpted from The Island by Hilderbrand, Elin Copyright © 2010 by Hilderbrand, Elin. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Customer Reviews

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The Island 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 485 reviews.
Dollycas More than 1 year ago
Hardcover and Kindle Release July 6, 2010 Reagan Arthur Books/Little Brown Publishing The story takes us to a small island off of Nantucket called Tuckernuck. The home there has been the Tate Family Summer Home since it was built back in 1935, during the depression. For years the family would gather there for as little as two weeks, some stayed the whole summer. There is no electricity, power comes from a generator, no hot water, no telephone, no television, and in the tech age, no computers or wi-fi, and the only place for cell phone reception is standing in the the water out at the end of a jut of land on the other side of the island. They haven't been there for 13 years, but now that Birdie's daughter Chess is getting married and she wants to spend a week alone with her out on Tuckernuck. Chess agrees grudgingly. Birdie starts to make plans and a few weeks later Chess breaks off her engagement, her ex-fiancee dies tragically and Chess quits her job and suffers a breakdown. Birdie, Chess, her sister Tate, and her an aunt India all decide a month on Tuckernuck is needed to help Chess. So they pack their bags and they set off to spend the month of July on The Island. Secrets and intrigue soon come forth and the month on the island will hold many surprises. I LOVED IT!!!!! This is the first book I have read by Elin Hilderbrand, but it definitely will not be the last. The island is character all on its own. Through the author's words I could almost feel my toes wiggling in the sand and surf. This story tells the love stories of the four main characters, both lost and found, and the love they have for The Island. It is truly heartwarming and as you get drawn into the lives of these women you will not be able to put this book down. It is a pure joy to read. This is the perfect book to escape into this summer. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Reagan Arthur Books, Little Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Frisbeesage More than 1 year ago
Elin Hilderbrand's latest novel, The Island, tells the story of 4 women over one month on Tuckernuck Island. Birdie's daughter, Chess, is about to marry the perfect man. To celebrate and try to reconnect with Chess, Birdie invites her to spend a week in the old family vacation home on Tuckernuck Island. When Chess calls off the engagement and shortly after the ex fiancee dies in a freak climbing, the accident, the week turns into a month and Birdie invites her other daughter Tate and her own sister India to try and help Chess find her way out of the deep depression she has fallen in. They plan for a quiet, nurturing month caring for Chess, but the island has its own ideas. The reality will turn out to be far more exciting and healing than any of them expect. This was my first introduction to Elin Hilderbrand and I was very pleasantly surprised. I anticipated a shallow but mildly entertaining summer read. Instead I found impressive depth and detail with all the mess and complication of real life. The characters were interesting, fully realized people who I would be friends with in real life. I enjoyed every minute of getting to know them. If the end is a bit of a fairy tale, all neatly tied up and happy, I liked the book even better for it. A thoroughly enjoyable read and I look forward to diving into the rest of Hilderbrand's work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hilderbrand's novels move fast (she doesn't add a lot of colorful language or description) and are easy to read. The Island has well developed characters and the reader gets absorbed into their world. This is not a thrilling, climactic read, but rather an enjoyable story of love, loss, and relationships between the people we are closest to, family. Enjoy!
Candy Munro More than 1 year ago
Very good book. Stayed up way to late to finish it. But, glad i did. Highly reccommend it along with all of her other books.
MHH66 More than 1 year ago
I love Elin Hilderbrand books. This book is about a family, their relationships, their struggles and how they help eachother through life problems. It's an easy read with the island nantucket feeling like her other books. The struggle between sisters is realistic and I can relate having a sister myself. Easy Read, interesting fun and the sadest part is when you finish reading leaves you wanting more!
bookchic8 More than 1 year ago
This book was really great. I loved the characters and loved the setting of Tuckernuck island. Really, really great summer read!
britt032 More than 1 year ago
Interesting characters, but like a previous reviewer remarked, not sure the ending tied up their stories. However, the author's obvious knowledge of the locales, cooking, and women of a certain age will hold your interest. I enjoyed it.
Bxgrl94 More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book on my husbands ipad and i could not stop reading it.i fell in love with tuckernuck. When I would read I felt as though i was there in the Tate home. A great read for me while I was at the lake.
EaglesGirl85 More than 1 year ago
This was one of those books that kept you reading but not riveted. I would definitely recommend it to people who just like to sit and read a variety of books. The setting is phenomenal and the characters are fairly typical but still interesting. Not sure that the author tied up all the loose ends that she created but, again, still liked it.
BLUEEYEBE More than 1 year ago
This is the story of four women and how a month on a privately owned island near Nantucket can refocus their lives. All four women are trying to overcome death, suicide, divorce and depression. Interesting true-to-life story. Makes you think.
Britgirl0 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. Liked the story although it was a little boring at times. A good beach read.
DebbieT More than 1 year ago
Good summer read. This was a light, easy beach read that went into relationships, coping with death and other life changing events, family strength and hope. Great way to kick off my summer reading fun!! If you are looking for a good book to bring to the beach, this would be a great choice.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Elin Hilderbrand cannot write a bad book !! This story has twist,turns,surprises , sorrows and happiness all rolled into a great easy read. As another reviewer stated the author does not waste our time with unnecessary details. She tells a story that keeeps you reading and them you are sorry the story is over ........
aimlyss More than 1 year ago
Four women, a mom, her sister, and two daughters, spend a month on Tuckernut, an island off Nantucket. This is my first book by this author and I really like her writing style and the way she gave good background on all of the characters. I wanted to give the book 5 stars as I could hardly put it down, but one of the women really bugged me. I didn't like her storyline at all. Great details, I feel like if I visited Tuckernut, I'd be able to find my way around. The book flowed nicely and was a quick-read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Highly recommend reading this one. It has a great story plot and really keeps you the edge of your seat. By far my favorite!
3tzmom More than 1 year ago
This is the 3rd book I've read by Hilderbrand. The book was a quick read and followed the normal formula of her books. It was good, but some of her other books are more engaging. The characters were a little flat for me. The book explores the characters past that brought them to the summer on the island, but there was just something missing. So far, The Castaways is my favorite book from the author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I eneded up reading the whole book. The characters the place nothing drew you in and everything was more of an overview. You didn't really get to know the people or maybe even care.
luvchicklitnsuch More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I am a huge fan of elin's books, and this was not a disappointment. The only part that I did not like was when the one sister shaved her head. It was unrealistic because it was the same exact thing that Britney Spears did and there was no reference to the Spears thing. I would have either left it out of the story or made a reference, such as the other sister "wow, I can't believed you pulled a Britney!". The one thing I like about many other authors is that they make references to current events to make the story more realistic and up to date. I just can't believe that any of these characters heard of or could bake the connection with Britney Spears. Othere than that I enjoyed the story very much, especially the triangle between the sisters and the young man. I thought that Elin went into detail the characteristics of each person. The jealousy of the sisters was very realistic.
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Couldn't put this one down